Arkansas & Louisiana: Fall 2020

Fall 2020: 1 Aug–30 Nov

Lyndal York

Recommended citation:

York, L. 2023. Fall 2020: Arkansas Region. <> North American Birds.

Seasonal Highlights include Common Ground-Dove, Rufous Hummingbird, Yellow Rail, Black Rail, Long-billed Curlew, Laughing Gull, Swallow-tailed Kite, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, and Evening Grosbeak.


An estimated 20,000 Greater White-fronted Geese were just east of Lodge’s Corner, Arkansas Co 15 Oct (Kenny & LaDonna Nichols). Sea ducks this season included a Surf Scoter at Big Lake WMA, Mississippi Co 2 Nov (Timothy P. Jones); a single Black Scoter at Alma Wastewater Plant, Crawford Co 3 Nov (Vivek Govind Kumar) and three at Lake Dardanelle, Yell Co 31 Oct (Kenny & LaDonna Nichols). Single Long-tailed Ducks were at Lake Conway, Faulkner Co 30 Nov (Ed Laster) and Lake Dardanelle, Pope Co 1 Nov (Kenny & LaDonna Nichols). Very rare in any season, a Common Ground-Dove was photographed 30 Oct, at Pine Bluff, Jefferson Co (Tamalyn Block Wortham, Karen Hatcher). Rare but steadily increasing, White-winged Doves were at Harrison, Boone Co 1 Sep (Sheree & Hank Rogers, Tim & Stephanie Barr); White Hall, Jefferson Co 11 Oct (Margie & Dave Nanak); and Little Rock, Pulaski Co 29 Oct (Gary Morris). The season’s only Rufous Hummingbird report was that of a bird photographed at Conway, Faulkner Co 9 Nov (Eilish Palmer). The first since 2013, a single Yellow Rail was flushed during an organized rail search near Arkansas City, Desha Co 30 Oct (Kenny & LaDonna Nichols, Dick Baxter, Michael Linz, Patty McLean). A Black Rail observed at the same location 27 Oct (Michael Linz, Patty McLean) was the first since 2001. Locally rare, two Virginia Rails were at Lake Sequoyah, Washington Co 27 Nov (Todd Ballinger, Ginny Halterman). Only the fourth occurrence for Crawford Co, two Common Gallinules were at Lee Creek Reservoir 29 Sep (Fillmore Dryden); a single at Arkansas Post National Memorial, Arkansas Co was a surprise on the late date of 22 Nov (Caitlin De Bellis, Kevin Krajcir).


Just the eleventh occurrence for the state, a Long-billed Curlew was photographed at Bald Knob N.W.R, White Co 12 Sep (Donna, Adam, & Lincoln Haynes). Rare in fall, a Red-necked Phalarope was at Boyd Point Wastewater Treatment Plant, Jefferson Co 23 Oct (Michael Linz, Patty McLean). Rare but annual, a juvenile Sabine’s Gull was at Lake Dardanelle, Pope Co 5 Oct (Kenny Nichols). Rare in any season, a Laughing Gull was at Bald Knob NWR, White Co 20 Oct (Michael Linz, Patty McLean). Two Lesser Black-backed Gulls photographed west of England, Lonoke Co 27 Oct were a first for the county (Kenny & LaDonna Nichols). Rare loons for the season included a Red-throated Loon on Lake Dardanelle, Pope Co 1 Nov (Kenny & LaDonna Nichols) and a Pacific Loon on Lake Maumelle, Pulaski Co 8 Nov (Ragan Sutterfield).

Thirteen White-faced Ibis were counted near Grand Lake, Chicot Co 10 Oct (Kenny & LaDonna Nichols); one was observed near Centerton, Benton Co 1 Oct (Vivek Govind Kumar) which is a rare occurrence for the Ozarks. One of the highest counts ever recorded in the state, 47 Roseate Spoonbills were tallied near Grand Lake, Chico Co 10 Oct (Kenny & LaDonna Nichols). Rare but annual, a Swallow-tailed Kite south of Berryville 26 Aug was a first for Carroll Co (Tina Cone, Judy Griffith, Don Matt, Vivek Govind Kumar); another was photographed near Jacksonville, Pulaski Co 6 Sep (Cindy Franklin, Bill Burnham). Lone Northern “Red-shafted” Flickers were near Alma, Crawford Co 21 Nov (Vivek Govind Kumar) and Woolsey Wet Prairie, Washington Co 7 Oct (Vivek Govind Kumar). The only Peregrine Falcon report was an individual near Grand Lake Chico Co, 10 Oct (Kenny & LaDonna Nichols). Rare and nearly annual, a Prairie Falcon seen 5 Nov near Cherokee Park, Conway Co (Ron Duvall) was most likely the same bird seen at Atkins Bottoms, Pope Co the same day (Kenny & LaDonna Nichols).


Undoubtedly, the bird of the season was a Fork-tailed Flycatcher found in rural Desha Co about 10 miles north of Arkansas City 16 Nov (Dick Baxter). Just the second ever for the state, it was enjoyed by dozens of birders before being last seen 27 Dec. Incredibly, there were four Say’s Phoebe reports for the season: one near Beaverfork Lake, 14 Sep was a first for Faulkner Co (Michael Linz, Patty McLean); one photographed 13 Oct at Crosses was a first for Madison Co (Brenda Nazarali); one near Alicia 14 Nov was a first for Lawrence Co (Terence & Jamie Teel); and one photographed at Gum Springs, Clark Co 17 Nov (Evelyn Good). Rare in migration, a Sprague’s Pipit found 17 Oct at Bell Slough WMA was just the second for Faulkner Co (Michael Linz, Patty McLean, Cody Massery, Allan Mueller). An Evening Grosbeak photographed 20 Nov at Mena, Polk Co was the first for the state in nearly 20 years and the first of multiple winter reports (Ruth & David Wiebe, m. ob.). A flyover Red Crossbill was heard 2 Nov at Ninestone Land Trust, Carroll Co (Vivek Govind Kumar). A Pine Siskin at Fannie, Montgomery Co 31 Aug was early by two months (William Burton III). Rare but annual, a female Spotted Towhee was at Fayetteville, Washington Co 17 Nov (Vivek Govind Kumar). Rare transient Clay-colored Sparrows were at Beaver Lake, Benton Co Oct (Vivek Govind Kumar), Little Rock, Pulaski Co 13–24 Oct (Dan & Samantha Scheiman) while two at Lake Saracen 26 Oct were a first for Jefferson Co (Michael Linz, Patty McLean). Rarely detected in migration, Nelson’s Sparrows were at Bell Slough WMA, Faulkner Co 17 Oct (Michael Linz, Patty McLean, Steve Warmack, Randy Robinson, Charles Mills, Anna Jetter) and near Alma, Crawford Co 3 Nov (Vivek Govind Kumar). Early by over two months, a Dark-eyed Junco was photographed at Springdale, Washington Co 9 Aug (Mignonne Scarbrough).


Exceptionally late Baltimore Orioles were at Russellville, Pope Co 25 Nov (Kristen Taylor) and the next day at Sherwood, Pulaski Co (Christopher Gilbert). Late warblers included a Tennessee Warbler 22 Nov at Little Rock, Pulaski Co (Dan Scheiman) and a Nashville Warbler at the same location, 10 Nov (Dan Scheiman); another Nashville was at Fayetteville, Washington Co 8 Nov (Vivek Govind Kumar). Very rare in fall, a Black-throated Blue Warbler was near Beaverfork Lake, Faulkner Co 1 Sep (Michael Linz, Patty McLean). An exceptionally late Scarlet Tanager was observed at a feeder in Little Rock, Pulaski 29 Nov (Karen Delavan). Latest ever by a full month and the first ever for November, a Blue Grosbeak was at Lake June, Lafayette Co 26 Nov (Devin & Jennifer Moon). Incredibly, another was seen the next day near Dardanelle, Yell Co (Araks Ohanyan). A Painted Bunting at Craig State Fish Hatchery, Benton Co 18 Oct was late by nearly 3 weeks (Adam Schaffer). Late Dickcissels were at Bald Knob NWR, White Co 5 Nov (Glenn & Michelle Wyatt) and Fayetteville, Washington Co 7 Nov (Vivek Govind Kumar).

Report processed by Eric DeFonso, 30 Jan 2023.

Photos–Arkansas & Louisiana: Fall 2020

Tina Cone, Judy Griffith, Don Matt, and Vivek Govind Kumar found the first Swallow-tailed Kite in Carroll Co, Arkansas on 26 Aug 2020. This is the first report of a Swallow-tailed Kite in the Arkansas Ozark Mountains. Photo © Tina Cone.

The second discovery of a Fork-tailed Flycatcher in Arkansas was made by Dick Baxter on 16 Nov 2020 in Desha Co. It was last seen on 27 Dec 2020. The location is in the Mississippi delta. Photo © Dick Baxter.

The first Evening Grosbeak reported in Arkansas in nearly 20 years was seen by Ruth and David Wiebe at their seed feeder in Mena, Polk Co on 20 Nov 2020. Many others saw the bird as it stayed around several days. Photo © Ruth Wiebe.